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Blender 2.81: Add-ons

Add-on Preferences

  • A checkbox "Enabled Add-ons Only" was added to the add-on list. When checked, only the enabled add-ons are shown; un-check to show all installed add-ons. This replaces the 'Enabled' and 'Disabled' items in the categories filter. 078d02f557

Add-on Preferences: New Add-on Category List

  • During the transition from 2.80 to 2.81, there has been significant changes to Add-ons and the categories they appear in. Some of the addons may have moved to a new category. The 3D View category has been limited to operations on the 3D Viewport such as overlays and a new category "Interface" created. Interface deals with addons that are UI based. The Pie menus addon has been moved to Interface. The category list is refined in other areas to better group Add-ons and reduce ui clutter.

Add-on Tabs and Panels

  • Most Add-ons included in Blender 2.81 have their panels closed by default to avoid ui clutter. We have also changed the tab naming conventions to better integrate addons into the ui. A decision was made that add-ons should not use the Active Tool tab unless it's a modal operator.
  • Add-ons have been grouped into the Item, View and custom Edit, Create and Animate tabs with the exceptions of a few use specific addons using custom names. If you enable all addons in order with the exception of the custom names, then enable the custom names, switching between object modes has a significantly reduced Tab "jumping" when using addons.

glTF 2.0 IO




  • Crease and sub-surface informations are now supported on both exporting and importing (D4982, f1dd37b8ac).
  • Importer can now batch-import several FBX files at once (D5866, b57772a883).
  • After the change to the shader's mapping node (baaa89a0bc), the min/max feature being removed, the handling of U/V clamping of FBX textures has been modified in the importer. It now follows the same behavior as the exporter, FBX's individual clamping/repeat on the U or V axes are not supported anymore (if any one of those is set, Blender's Texture node Extension is set to 'repeat').

Import Images as Planes

  • The default material shader now uses the Principled node, which allows to also automatically support transparency, and exports directly in several IO formats (GLtf, OBJ, FBX, ..., D5610, a215a3c85a).


  • A right click menu in the asset bar offers several new (and old) functions :
    • Search similar - searches for similar assets
    • Swap model (only for models) - swaps the selection for the new assets
    • Delete (own assets).
  • Upload has been improved, with possibility to upload thumbnail and main file separately
  • More UI options, mainly thumbnail size
  • The code of the addon now runs on timers, which enables it to append/link assets also when the asset bar is hidden.


A big internal API refactoring that has been worked on since last year has been committed. (3423174b37, 8b1df84370, etc)

For users

  • Refactored rigs generate nearly instantly compared to before. Note that the face rig has not been updated because it is planned to be replaced in the future, and is still slow.
  • The Rigify Animation Tools panel has been deprecated and disabled for newly generated rigs. Buttons for updating action keyframes have been moved to the rig-specific Rig Main Properties panel, next to the original IK\<->FK snap buttons.
  • IK controls have much more sophisticated support for switching the active parent: choices between root, torso, hip, etc; operators to change parent without moving control, etc.
  • The super_spine rig has been split into separate head, middle and tail parts; the old combined spine is now just a compatibility wrapper.

For scripters

  • Rig classes have a new API for interacting with Rigify core, designed to support complex rig interaction and subclassing.
  • Old rig classes still work via an automatic compatibility wrapper, except if they rely on being in Edit mode inside __init__.
  • New utilities for generating keyframe bake operators specific to the rig in the rig UI script, instead of the old Rigify Animation Tools panel hardcoded in the add-on to deal with the 'standard' metarig and nothing else.
  • A number of other new small utilities in the library.

These changes were designed to allow taking full advantage of the capability to implement and install custom rigs (available since 2.80) via feature set packages (feature set example, legacy rig feature set).

Pie Menu Add-ons

  • As Blender 2.8 brought about many pie menus as default menus, the "Official" pie menu addon has been depreciated. The Viewport Pies add-on is still available as an alternate pie menu system. It has also been updated to respect the Workspace Filter Add-ons and several individual menu fixes. You can now find it in the interface category when you enable addons.

Dynamic Context Menu

  • The dynamic context or "spacebar" addon has had a rework for the 2.8 series. Originally designed as as a replacement for the legacy 2.49 spacebar menu, then updated up to 2.79 release, this addon had evolved again to adjust to the new Blender tools and interface.
  • Access Search, Tools, Animation, Quick Favorites in the one place. Collections added. Menu's are reworked and updated to better reflect built in 2.8 series tools.
  • Note: If you have trouble accessing the add-on in the ui, in Preferences > Keymaps > Spacebar Action, you may need to set it to tools and save your preferences.

Materials Utils

  • Updated from 2.79, the Materials Utils addon makes a return in 2.81. Access your materials in the 3d viewport and assign, search, select, copy and more.


  • Updated from 2.79, the Animall addon makes a return in 2.81 thanks to Damien Picard (pioverfour). animate mesh, lattice and curve data.